Cruiserweight: 2013, Nov 25- Dec 1

The big fight of the week was in Bamberg, Germany, where #2 Yoan Pablo Hernandez got a very tough test in his return to the ring after 14 months off from #12 Alexander Alekseev.  Alekseev looked pretty sharp offensively, controlling large sections of the fight.  He even appeared to have better conditioning, as Hernandez’s work began looking pretty ragged even in the middle rounds.  But he had basically three deficits to his game, as compared to Hernandez, that made a decisive difference.  He obviously had less power than Hernandez, and his chin and defense really let him down.  Despite often being outboxed for long stretches of the fight, Hernandez’s one-shot knockdowns bailed him out in the scoring, and made that scoring academic by achieving the stoppage.  In all, Hernandez scored 3 knockdowns, including a flash one in the 2nd, a very hard one in the 5th, and a third in the 10th that- I think incorrectly- caused referee Lindsey Page to stop the fight without a count.  Despite scoring two knockdowns to that point, I had Hernandez up just 85-84 at the time of the stoppage.


That same night in Hamburg, Juan Carlos Gomez won an easy shutout 8-round decision over the awful Jindrich Valecky.  Gomez came in a pound and change over 200, but it hardly matters.  His rankable wins at 200 are all over 5 years old, so he’ll have to start from scratch against a lot better fighters than this in order to sniff a ranking here.


In Poland, and also on Saturday, fringe contending undefeated prospect Pawel Kolodziej came in at approximately the same weight as Gomez, and stopped low-level Nigerian journeyman Prince Anthony Ikeji in the 7th of a scheduled 8.


In Friday action, undefeated Italian Mirko Larghetti remained both undefeated and Italian, winning a comfortable but, at least by the scores, unimpressive victory over unproven one-loss prospect Stjepan Vugdelija of Croatia.  Scores were 117-111 (x2) and 118-112.  To give you an idea of Vugdelija’s credentials, he lost a decisive decision to solid veteran journeyman Ismail Abdoul in his only prior loss, though for what it’s worth he did win as many as 2 of the 8 rounds according to one judge, and has fought nobody else with a pulse up to this point.


Also on Friday, undefeated Latvian Mairis Briedis dominated and stopped credible Czech journeyman Lubos Suda after 5 rounds, with Suda retiring in his corner before the 6th.


Hernandez holds firm at #2, while Alekseev trades places with last week’s #13 Ilunga Makabu.  Given what I consider a pretty respectable performance against a significantly better-ranked fighter, that movement has more to do with me disagreeing with my earlier decision to rank him ahead of Makabu than with the result of the fight.  As for Hernandez, you could make the case that he should be ranked over Lebedev, but I’ve determined that Lebedev’s ranking should not be affected at all by his stoppage loss to Jones, since Jones clearly cheated.  The fact that Hernandez needed a gift to avoid a loss to then-20th-ranked Troy Ross makes the decisive difference in otherwise very evenly-matched resumes.


The other change that affects the rankings this week is the inactivity of #7 Danny Green.  He is removed, and everyone ranked #8 and below last week moves up one, except that for the reasons stated above, Makabu moves up 2 places to #11, and Alekseev remains at #12.  Silvio Branco enters the top 10, while Rakhim Chakhkiev returns at #20.


Dan’s Top 20 (weeks in current position-weeks in top 10 (if applicable)-weeks in top 20)
Champ: None
1) Denis Lebedev (18-199-199)
Last Fight: 5/17/2013- L (TKO11) vs. Guillermo Jones (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
The rematch with Jones, according to Lebedev’s promoter, is all but done for mid-March in Moscow.
2) Yoan Pablo Hernandez (63-179-179)
Last Fight: 11/23/2013- TKO10 #12 Alexander Alekseev
Next Fight: Unknown
Hernandez still seems a little vulnerable, needing his power to bail him out a little against Alekseev.
3) Marco Huck (11-364-364)
Last Fight: 6/8/2013- W (MD12) vs. #5 Ola Afolabi
Next Fight: 1/25/2014- vs. #5 Firat Arslan
Huck-Arslan II has a new date of January 25 after Huck suffered a hand injury.
4) Krzysztof Wlodarczyk (11-440-440)
Last Fight: 6/21/2013- TKO8 Rakhim Chakhkiev (UNR)
Next Fight: 12/6/2013- vs. #9 Giacobbe Fragomeni
Wlodarczyk will see action in the US for the first time since 2005 on December 6, fighting a trilogy bout with the rapidly aging Italian Giacobbe Fragomeni in Chicago.
5) Firat Arslan (11-81-124)
Last Fight: 4/27/2013- UD10 Varol Vekiloglu (UNR)
Next Fight: 1/25/2014- vs. #3 Marco Huck
See Huck’s notes, above.

6) Thabiso Mchunu (11-17-55)
Last Fight: 8/3/2013- UD10 Eddie Chambers (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Mchunu recently signed a promotional deal with Main Events, the promoter of his recent victim Eddie Chambers.  This ensures that US fans will be seeing him on NBC Sports in 2014, if not earlier.
7) Grigory Drozd (1-8-55)
Last Fight: 10/5/2013- TKO11 #13 Mateusz Masternak
Next Fight: Unknown
The first notable call-out of Drozd following his impressive victory over Masternak comes from Masternak’s countryman Krzysztof Glowacki.
8) Ola Afolabi (1-246-246)
Last Fight: 11/2/2013- W* (MD12) vs. Lukasz Janik (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Afolabi needed a gift to squeak by Janik.
9) Giacobbe Fragomeni (1-11-263)
Last Fight: 7/27/2013- UD8 Toni Visic (UNR)
Next Fight: 12/6/2013- vs. #4 Krzysztof Wlodarczyk
See Wlodarczyk’s notes, above.
10) Silvio Branco (1-89)
Last Fight: 7/6/2013- W (TD10) vs. Juho Haapoja (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
I’ve heard unconfirmed reports that Russian prospect Chakhkiev wants a fight with Branco.
11) Ilunga Makabu (1-20)
Last Fight: 8/31/2013- TKO5 Eric Fields (UNR)
Next Fight: 2/1/2014- vs. Pawel Kolodziej (UNR)
Makabu is set to fight undefeated Polish prospect Pawel Kolodziej in Monaco for an interim alphabet belt on February 1.
12) Alexander Alekseev (11-150)
Last Fight: 11/23/2013- L (TKO10) vs. #2 Yoan Pablo Hernandez
Next Fight: Unknown
Alekseev acquitted himself better in his TKO loss to Hernandez than he has in some of his wins.
13) Santander Silgado (1-4)
Last Fight: 11/1/2013- TKO2 #20 Steve Herelius
Next Fight: Unknown
Silgado may have caught a finished fighter at the right time in stopping Herelius, but in a fairly shallow division, that’s enough for now.
14) Mateusz Masternak (1-87)
Last Fight: 10/5/2013- L (TKO11) vs. #16 Grigory Drozd
Next Fight: Unknown
Masternak is still a legitimate prospect despite his first loss, but can no longer lay claim to the status of “top prospect” after losing to Drozd.
15) Lukasz Janik (1-4)
Last Fight: 11/2/2013- L* (MD12) vs. #7 Ola Afolabi
Next Fight: Unknown
Janik would like a well-deserved rematch with Afolabi.
16) Enad Licina (1-179)
Last Fight: 9/27/2013- TKO3 Levan Jomardashvili (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Licina needs a significant win before January, as his only relevant win in the last 5 years will become older than 5 years at that point, prompting his removal.
17) Danie Venter (1-11)
Last Fight: 9/21/2013- KO1 Shawn Cox (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
I must admit I wrote Venter off when he lost a bit of an upset to Mchunu last year, but Mchunu has proven to be something of a world beater since, and Venter’s overall resume is quietly starting to look pretty solid.
18) Dmytro Kucher (1-74)
Last Fight: 7/13/2013- L (MD12) vs. Ilunga Makabu (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Kucher would like a rematch with Makabu, and has his sights set on Wlodarczyk down the road, as well.  He expects to be back against someone in November or December.
19) Krzysztof Glowacki (1-18)
Last Fight: 10/19/2013- TKO3 Richard Hall (UNR)
Next Fight: 12/14/2013- vs. Unknown Opponent
Glowacki is keeping very busy, and will fight on December 14 in Poland, less than 2 months after his previous fight.
20) Rakhim Chakhkiev (1-1)
Last Fight: 10/5/2013- KO10 Giulian Ilie (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown


THE WEEK AHEAD: Saturday in Lyubertsy, Russia, undefeated prospect Dmitry Kudryashov meets South African gatekeeper Zack Mwekassa who, it should be noted, owns a stoppage win over apparent world-beater Thabiso Mchunu.

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